The “mechanics” underlying the process of Guided Imagery is the fact that our sensations (pain, anger, satisfaction, sadness etc.) are driven by our emotions. Emotions are our mental response to the physical, mental and psychological stimuli that we are exposed to. These responses are based on our interpretations of our experiences((Mark Twain had reportedly joked, “My life has been filled with many tragedies, most of which never occured”.)), and these are stored in our episodic memory. Importantly, episodic memory is in the form of images and is experienced during recollection.
During Guided Imagery we access this area of ourselves and with our will and intent create new images, which give rise to emotions that support healing and that in turns alters our sensations. The episodic memory is also the store house of healing memories, because, before we fall sick, we were healthy and whole – and the process of Guided Imagery is to awaken these images and to kindle the sensations of well-being and extinguish the sensations of pain and suffering.
The resolve to heal
In our first meeting I shall explain the whole process of Guided Imagery. The first step is to affirm or resolve to heal, this is called Sankalpa in Sanskrit (संकल्प). Directing your Will to a conscious and inspired intention has been recognized as the most powerful element in the process of Healing by philosophers ranging from Adi Sankara to Schopenhauer.((Seshachari VS, Adi Sankara’s Commentary on Chandogya Upanishad: संकल्पो वाव मनसो भूयान्यदा वै संकल्पततेऽथ मनस्यत्यथं वाचमीरयति तामु नाम्नीरयति नाम्नि मन्त्रा एकं भवन्ति मन्त्रेषु कर्माणि ||१|| Translation: Will is greater than the Mind. For when one wills, one reflects, then he utters Speech, then he utters it in Name. In the Name mantras become one; and in the mantras, the sacrifices become one.))
I shall ask you to sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair, arms resting on the armrests or in your lap. This is also known as the Pharaoh’s Posture and is most suited for expressing the search for inner guidance.((Epstein G, MD: Healing Visualizations, Bantam Books, 1989))
I shall then guide you take a few relaxing breaths to quieten the mind. We shall not progress to a deep state of meditation as we wish to remain alert to participate in Imagery. This will be followed by a process of “cleansing”. This is a mental exercise to shine our inner light on our mental patterns and cleanse them to make room for positive, healthy and wholesome patterns. The last part of the preparation is attuning our mind to change.
After this we shall start our Imagery session. We shall use images that will change your present situation or state and bring your attention to the sensations and emotions that flow from the new images.
I integrate Guided Imagery with Homeopathy, Bach Flower Remedies, Yoga and lifestyle guidance based on Ayurveda.